Tennessee Roadie Continues

August 16, 2016

The Rainiers earned their split in Memphis, and bussed through Tennessee to Nashville overnight. A new four-game series awaits us a First Tennessee Park, the home of the Nashville Sounds.

Tacoma is the last PCL team to visit First Tennessee Park, which opened in 2015. The Rainiers did not play at Nashville last season, and are the last Pacific Conference team to visit this year.

I’ve yet to lay eyes on the place, but apparently it is a pitcher’s park – maybe the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in the league.

The Nashville Sounds hit a lot of home runs – they rank tied for third in the circuit with 122. They have hit 80 of the 122 home runs in road games!

So apparently we won’t be seeing many homers in this series.

Nashville is playoff-bound. The Sounds lineup has been steady for most of the season, without many roster moves. They have had a lot of changes on the pitching staff, but currently boast a very impressive starting rotation.

It should be a good series between top-level PCL teams.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma scored four early runs, banged out a dozen hits, and won a rain-shortened game in Memphis, 5-1. Sam Gaviglio battled sloppy conditions and lasted 6.1 innings, giving up one run. Fresno lost, so Tacoma leads the division by five games with 21 to play.

‘Magic Number’: 17. That’s the total number of Tacoma wins + Fresno losses needed for the Rainiers to clinch the Pacific-North division title (without resorting to tiebreakers). Should Reno pass Fresno and move into second place, we’ll have to recompute this.

Roster Moves: outfielder Daniel Robertson cleared waivers and will rejoin the Rainiers today. I also expect some movement on the catcher front – we’ll probably see one arrive to fill in for Rob Brantly, who is unlikely to play for several days due to his left ankle sprain. Reliever Kraig Sitton has landed on the disabled list, retroactive to August 11 – he’s not expected to be out for long.

Today: Tacoma (71-51-1) at Nashville (70-53), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Oakland A’s.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Forrest Snow (1-0, 5.00) at RHP Jesse Hahn (1-6, 3.66)

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero is 6-for-12 with two doubles and a homer over his last three games… Dan Vogelbach has drawn at least one walk in ten of the last 11 games… Mike Freeman has hit safely in all ten games he has played in for Tacoma, with two hits in six of them… Jesus Sucre went 5-for-8 in Memphis.

Look Out For: Renato Nunez has a 13-game hitting streak, going 19-for-54 (.352) with four homers during the streak… Jaycob Brugman has an eight-game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in 16 straight games… Arismendy Alcantara has ten triples – one behind PCL leader Manuel Margot of El Paso. Alcantara has led the league in triples each of the last two seasons.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

  • Iowa beat Fresno for the third day in a row, this time by a score of 6-4. Fresno is five games behind Tacoma; they host Omaha for four games starting tonight.
  • Shelby Miller pitched into the eighth inning as Reno beat Nashville last night, 3-2. The Aces split the series and they remain 6.5 games behind Tacoma.
  • Sacramento held on for a 6-5 win over Omaha.
  • Round Rock picked up a 5-4 win at Salt Lake when Matt Duffy homered in the 11th inning. Tim Lincecum started for Salt Lake and allowed four runs in 4.1 innings.
  • New Orleans finished a four-game sweep at Cashman Field with a 12-8 win, and Las Vegas has lost eight in a row.
  • Oklahoma City’s Trevor Oaks pitched a complete game, striking out 11, in an 8-1 win over El Paso.
  • Colorado Springs starter Hiram Burgos pitched well as the Sky Sox ended Albuquerque’s eight-game winning streak.

Gaviglio Goes Tonight

August 15, 2016

The Rainiers lost on Sunday evening in Memphis, 6-2, and need a win tonight in order to salvage a split of the four-game series. They’ll turn to Sam Gaviglio on the mound.

Gaviglio has been a hot pitcher, to say the least. His last time out, he pitched a complete game shutout against Sacramento – the first of his career.

Over his last three starts, Gaviglio has allowed a total of just one run in 22.2 innings. He’s given up just 13 hits and two walks, while striking out 15.

Gaviglio will be facing his former organization today. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, who traded him to the Mariners prior to the 2015 season.

The Rainiers could use a strong start today, as they are facing Cardinals pitching prospect Mike Mayers, who is supposed to be pretty good. Mayers has a 3.06 ERA in 13 starts for Memphis, although he recently made his major league debut and it was a rough one.

Tacoma catcher Rob Brantly was injured yesterday, and we don’t know his status right now.

Brantly rolled his left ankle on the first base bag, and he had to be helped off the field. After the game, it was heavily wrapped up but he was trying to walk on it in the clubhouse.

Best case scenario, he’ll be out for just a few days. Tacoma will probably add a catcher from somewhere in the organization today.

Everyone send a birthday shout-out to Rainiers hitting coach Scott Brosius, who turns 50 today. Look at the bright side, Scott – it’s only a half-century!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Memphis slugger David Washington hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning, leading the Redbirds to a 6-2 win over Tacoma. The Rainiers need a win tonight in the series finale to escape town with a split.

Today: Tacoma (70-51-1) at Memphis (59-62), 4:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: St. Louis Cardinals.

Season Series: Memphis leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-0, 2.10) at RHP Mike Mayers (3-5, 3.06)

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero is 6-for-12 with two doubles and a homer over the first three games of this series… Dan Vogelbach has drawn at least one walk in nine of the last ten games… Mike Freeman has hit safely in all nine games he has played in for Tacoma, with two hits in six of them.

Look Out For: Mike Ohlman has a seven-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games… 2015 PCL batting champion Jose Martinez had his eight-game streak come to an end last night – he was 14-for-31 during the streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

  • Fresno had a press conference announcing the two-year extension of its union with the Houston Astros, and then struck out 16 more times in a 9-5 loss to Iowa. Tacoma still leads the division by four games.
  • Matt Koch pitched Reno to a 6-3 win at Nashville, and the Aces picked up a game. They are 6.5 games behind Tacoma.
  • Sacramento edged Omaha, 4-3.
  • Oklahoma City’s Charlie Culberson drove in five runs as the Dodgers whacked the Chihuahuas, 13-2.
  • Albuquerque made it eight straight wins with a 3-1 victory at Colorado Springs. Jeff Hoffman struck out nine over five innings of one-hit pitching.
  • And Las Vegas made it seven straight losses with an 8-6 home defeat to New Orleans.
  • Round Rock picked up a 6-2 win at Salt Lake and goes for a sweep tonight. Tim Lincecum starts for the Bees this evening.

Tonight is the last game in Memphis. Afterward, we load up on a bus and drive three hours to Nashville, where a four-game series starts on Tuesday.


Big Inning Ends Two-Game Slide

August 14, 2016

Tacoma ended a brief stretch of offensive futility with one big inning on Saturday night, leading to a 6-5 win at Memphis.

The Rainiers had scored just one run in the previous 22 innings before erupting for six runs in the top of the fourth inning.

Eleven batters came to the plate in the inning, with Dan Vogelbach collecting two hits. Jesus Sucre had a big two-out, two-run double during the rally.

A 6-0 lead proved to be a bit precarious, as Memphis battled to come within one run and threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Rainiers reliever David Rollins escaped that jam.

The Tacoma pitching staff was uncharacteristically wild, issuing eight walks – two of them with the bases loaded, forcing in runs.

Both of the teams chasing the Rainiers lost yesterday, so Tacoma now leads Fresno by four games and Reno by 7.5 with 23 games to play.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma scored six runs in the top of the fourth inning and held on for a 6-5 win over Memphis. Dan Vogelbach had two hits in the inning: he started the rally with a single, and completed the scoring with a two-run double.

Roster Move: Bullpen catcher P.J. Jones went to Double-A Jackson and was activated as a player.

Today: Tacoma (70-50-1) at Memphis (58-62), 4:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: St. Louis Cardinals.

Season Series: Tied, 1-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Zach Lee (0-5, 6.46) at RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 5.04)

Hot Rainiers: James Ramsey is 9-for-18 with a homer and five RBI in his first six games with the team… Dan Vogelbach’s streak of drawing a walk in eight straight games ended, but he had two hits… Mike Freeman has hit safely in all eight games he has played in for Tacoma, with two hits in five of them.

Look Out For: Breyvic Valera is hitting .361 in his first 144 Triple-A at-bats with a ridiculous strikeout-to-walk ratio (18 K’s, 24 walks)… Mike Ohlman has a six-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games… 2015 PCL batting champion Jose Martinez has a eight-game streak, going 14-for-31.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 3:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:


Rainiers Hope Offense Rebounds Tonight

August 13, 2016

The Rainiers offense was shut down for the second game in a row during a 3-1 loss to Memphis on Friday night.

Tacoma was shut out on two hits by Sacramento on Wednesday, did not play Thursday, and then was held to one run on six hits Friday. The lone run scored on a solo homer by Stefen Romero in the seventh inning.

The problem hasn’t been missed scoring opportunities – there was one on Friday, maybe two – it’s been a lack of base runners. Hits and walks have been in short supply.

Hopefully the problem is just a two-game blip. The Rainiers entered Friday’s game ranked fourth among the 16 PCL teams in runs scored.

The club has been getting good pitching. The scores of these two losses have been 2-0 and 3-1.

Let’s hope the offense breaks out today.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma was held to a single run, and Memphis had four straight two-out hits in the seventh inning to beat the Rainiers, 3-1. Tacoma’s lead in the division is down to three games.

Today: Tacoma (69-50-1) at Memphis (58-61), 4:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: St. Louis Cardinals.

Season Series: Memphis leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Taijuan Walker (0-0, 4.15) at RHP Deck McGuire (6-9, 5.55)

Hot Rainiers: James Ramsey is 8-for-15 with a homer and five RBI in his first five games with the team… Dan Vogelbach walked three times last night, and he has drawn a walk in eight straight games… Mike Freeman has hit safely in all seven games he has played in for Tacoma, with two hits in five of them.

Look Out For: Breyvic Valera is hitting .360 in his first 139 Triple-A at-bats with a ridiculous strikeout-to-walk ratio (17 K’s, 24 walks)… Mike Ohlman has a six-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games… 2015 PCL batting champion Jose Martinez has a seven-game streak, going 12-for-27.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

  • Fresno picked up a game on Tacoma by beating Iowa, 8-4. The Fresno Bee proclaimed it the start of a “pivotal stretch” of the schedule for the Grizzlies.
  • Nashville wiped out Reno, 10-0, as Bryan Anderson hit a grand slam. Amazingly, it was the first home team grand slam at First Tennessee Park, which opened last year.
  • Albert Suarez struck out 11 in Sacramento’s 3-1 win over visiting Omaha.
  • Salt Lake got creamed by Round Rock, 14-3. The story in the Salt Lake Tribune got the final score wrong which always makes me laugh (it really was 14-3).
  • Yasiel Puig tripled, homered, and drove in four runs in his Oklahoma City Dodgers home debut – an 8-4 win over El Paso. Before the game, he hunted for Pokemon in downtown Oklahoma City.
  • Instead of making a run to catch first place El Paso, Las Vegas is collapsing. The 51s lost their fifth in a row yesterday, 6-5 to New Orleans.
  • Albuquerque won in Colorado Springs, 7-4.

Tennessee Trips Starts Today

August 12, 2016

Hello from Memphis, Tennessee – the home of both Graceland and the St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds.

It’s a four-game series here at beautiful AutoZone Park, and then the road trip moves on to Nashville for four games.

Tacoma lost the final game against Sacramento on Wednesday, 2-0. The Rainiers were shut down by Ty Blach, who pitched a two-hit shutout.

Tacoma’s lead over second-place Fresno is four games, and Reno is 6.5 games out. There are 25 games left in the regular season.

Everyone in the league is playing cross-conference games starting tonight. Fresno is hosting Iowa and Omaha for the next eight games, while Reno is on the same trip Tacoma is on (except they play Nashville first).

Memphis just lost three of five at New Orleans, but they have had two straight days off: the were supposed to play a sixth game in New Orleans on Wednesday, but it was cancelled due to rain.

The Redbirds got to the all-star break a game over .500 at 45-44, but they have gone 12-17 since the break.

They have a young team, with many position players who were promoted from Double-A Springfield during the season. One familiar face: Efren Navarro, who opened the season as a member of the Rainiers before being released on June 28, is their first baseman.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma was off yesterday, after getting shut out by Ty Blach and Sacramento on Wednesday, 2-0.

Roster Move: The Mariners called up Jarrett Grube for Wednesday’s game against Boston, he did not pitch, and he was optioned back to Tacoma afterwards. He’ll start for Tacoma tonight – provided his flight arrives in time. Today the Mariners called up Joe Wieland to start against Oakland, and have designated Daniel Robertson for assignment.

Today: Tacoma (69-49-1) at Memphis (57-61), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: St. Louis Cardinals.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Jarrett Grube (1-2, 3.97) at RHP Arturo Reyes (8-4, 4.75)

Hot Rainiers: James Ramsey is 7-for-13 with a homer and five RBI in his first four games with the team… Daniel Robertson has hit .333 since the all-star break… Dan Vogelbach has drawn a walk in seven straight games… Mike Freeman has hit safely in all six games he has played in for Tacoma, with two hits in five of them.

Look Out For: Breyvic Valera has gone 16-for-35 over his last 11 games, and is hitting .370 in his first 135 Triple-A at-bats with a ridiculous strikeout-to-walk ratio (15 K’s, 24 walks)… Mike Ohlman has a six-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games… 2015 PCL batting champion Jose Martinez has a six-game streak, going 10-for-23.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

The entire PCL was off yesterday.


Rainiers Ride Pitching To Win

August 10, 2016

Tacoma put together a terrific combined pitching effort on Tuesday night in a 5-1 win over Sacramento. The victory gave Tacoma a 2-1 lead in the four-game series, which ends with the early game today.

Forrest Snow made the start, and it looked like he might struggle early. He allowed a run in the first, and runners were at the corners with one out when he got a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play to end the inning.

From that point forward, Snow was really strong. He made it through five innings on 76 pitches, and left with a 4-1 lead. He’s pitched from the bullpen all year until six days ago, so this was a long outing for him.

Then we got our first look at the switch-pitcher, Pat Venditte. In the sixth inning he faced one batter left-handed, the next two right-handed, and then switch back to pitch lefty for the fourth hitter. In the seventh everyone was right-handed, and so was he.

His switching of the six-fingered glove from hand-to-hand is seemless and it would be easy to miss the switch-pitching if you weren’t paying attention. Venditte pitched two scoreless innings.

Emilio Pagan pitched the eighth inning, and he did something very rare: he pitched an “immaculate inning.”

That’s what they call it when a pitcher strikes out the side on nine pitches. Pagan fanned Gorkys Hernandez, Kelby Tomlinson, and Ramiro Pena on three pitches each.

No one really knows how often there have been immaculate innings in baseball history, but it’s not common. The Rainiers were victims of one last season, when Colorado Springs reliever Jaye Chapman threw one on August 21.

Once the switch pitching and immaculate innings were over, Andrew Kittredge came in and got the final three outs with some traditional 95 mph cheese and the Rainiers were winners.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Four Tacoma pitchers combined on a six-hitter, helping lift the Rainiers to a 5-1 win over Sacramento. Tacoma moved 21 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2001 season, and opened up a five-game lead in the standings.

Roster Move: Yesterday the Mariners activated Ketel Marte from the disabled list, and optioned infielder Mike Freeman to Tacoma. Expect more moves today in the wake of the Mariners 15-inning game last night.

Today: Sacramento (54-64) at Tacoma (69-48-1), 11:35.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 8-7.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Ty Blach (12-6, 3.58) at RHP Cody Martin (9-6, 3.95)

A tough customer on the mound for Sacramento. Blach, in his second Triple-A season, leads the PCL in wins and ranks seventh in ERA.

Hot Rainiers: James Ramsey is 7-for-13 with a homer and five RBI in his first four games with the team… Daniel Robertson has hit .349 since the all-star break, and he has nine hits over his last four games… Dan Vogelbach has drawn a walk in six straight games.

Look Out For: Chris Denorfia is 14-for-36 with three homers over his last ten games… Ali Castillo has hit .440 (11-for-25) against Tacoma this year.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 11:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story covers the offensive efforts of the club.
  • The Mariners pulled off a stunning win last night, beating Detroit 6-5 with two runs in the bottom of the 15th inning after falling behind in the top of the frame. They have won five in a row and are in the wild card hunt.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook covers roster moves, roster moves, roster moves, and the team picture.

PCL Game Reports:

Today is the Rainiers last home game for a little while. Thursday is a travel day to Tennessee, where the Rainiers have an eight-game road trip to Memphis and Nashville starting with Friday night’s game. Our next blog update will come mid-day on Friday.


It’s A Shutout, By Sam

August 9, 2016

Tacoma’s Sam Gaviglio went the distance last night, pitching a complete game four-hit shutout to beat Sacramento, 4-0.

It was not just the first shutout of Gaviglio’s career: it was the first complete game of his career. He’s been a starter since beginning his professional career in 2011, and you’d think he would have had one of those seven-inning doubleheader game CG’s, but no.

Gaviglio has been on an amazing run over his last three starts: 22.1 innings pitched, one run allowed on just 13 hits. He has two walks and 15 strikeouts during this stretch.

He’s been doing it against good lineups, too: the first two starts were against El Paso, who has the best offense in the league, and the shutout last night came against the currently loaded Sacramento lineup that I wrote about yesterday.

Last night’s gem took 110 pitches, 69 of which were strikes. He allowed the four hits early in the game before settling in – he retired the final 17 batters of the game.

It was the first complete game shutout by a Tacoma pitcher since Chien-Ming Wang tossed one at Oklahoma City last August.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma starter Sam Gaviglio pitched the first complete game shutout of his career, a four-hitter in a 4-0 win over Sacramento on Monday night. Tacoma moved back to 20 games over .500, and opened the division lead up to four games again.

Roster Move: Yesterday the Mariners optioned starting pitcher Taijuan Walker to Tacoma – he’s in line to start the first game of the upcoming road trip, Friday at Memphis. To make room for Walker on the Tacoma roster, outfielder Dario Pizzano was transferred to Double-A Jackson. I’m sure we’ll see him again – perhaps soon. Also, reliever Blake Parker was claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees.

Today: Sacramento (54-63) at Tacoma (68-48-1), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Tied, 7-7.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Alex Torres (1-1, 4.60) at RHP Forrest Snow (0-0, 9.00)

It’s a ‘bullpen day’ on both sides, as Torres and Snow have both been relievers this season.

Hot Rainiers: James Ramsey is 7-for-13 with a homer and five RBI in his first four games with the team… Daniel Robertson has hit .350 since the all-star break, and he has eight hits over his last three games… Dan Vogelbach has drawn a walk in five straight games.

Look Out For: Veterans Travis Ishikawa and Chris Denorfia are hot. Ishikawa is 14-for-32 with five homers and 19 RBI in his last nine games. Denorfia has 13 hits and three homers in his last nine games… Ruben Tejada has a six-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story has the details on Sam Gaviglio‘s terrific start.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners shut out the Detroit Tigers last night, 3-0. That’s four straight win for the M’s.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook explains why the Mariners sent Taijuan Walker to Tacoma.

PCL Game Reports:


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